Life transformed by Devizes centre

Life transformed by Devizes centre

Life transformed

From left are Liam Stratchley, seven, dad Gary Stratchley, Billy Stratchley, one, and Freddie Stratchley, four (DV1149) by DIANE VOSE

First published in News
Last updated

Little Freddie Scratchley knew exactly what he wanted to do when his mum told him his friends at Devizes Opportunity Centre needed cash.

Freddie, four, who attends a special unit at Wansdyke Primary School, told her: “I want to get money for my children.”

His mum Jade Elliott said: “It made me want to cry, especially when you think about two years ago he couldn’t speak at all.

“I gave him ideas of how we could raise money and he said he wanted to do a welly walk.”

On April 13, the day before Freddie of Blackberry Lane, Potterne, has his fifth birthday, his family and friends will set out on a two-mile hike from Worton to Potterne.

Miss Elliott, 26, was determined to do something to help our Give Us A Chance appeal after receiving a huge amount of support from the centre.

She said: “I can’t thank them enough. I don’t know what I would have done if Freddie had not been referred there when he was two-and-a-half.”

Freddie, who has been diagnosed with autism, was born ten weeks early at Great Western Hospital, Swindon, after his mum went through a terrible ordeal in pregnancy.

Freddie’s identical twin Max died 19 weeks into the pregnancy but his Miss Elliott had to continue to carry him in her womb. She said: “It was very distressing, especially when I went for scans.”

Freddie weighed 4lbs 6ozs at birth and spent six weeks in the special care baby unit. He was constantly monitored by pediatricians at Swindon but when he was two he was referred to Bath.

By now Miss Elliott and her partner Gary Scratchley, who have two other sons Liam, seven, and Billy, 14 months, were worried that Freddie did not speak or show much interest in anything.

At Bath he was immediately referred to the opportunity centre and things began to improve.

Miss Elliott said: “It wasn’t just what they did for Freddie, it’s what they did for the whole family.”

She said the first time she took him to the centre he screamed and cried but gradually the dedicated staff won him round.

She said: “We went back to visit the other day and he sat eating a snack with the other children. Then when he finished he asked one of the staff if he could leave the table. It just shows how far he has come.”

To sponsor Freddie go to virginmoneygiving.com/jadeelliott 1. To join in the walk email jorgeelliott@hotmail.co.uk

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